Reporting Karen Anderson
BOSTON (CBS) – The man at the helm of Boston’s FBI Office says anyone involved with the Boston Marathon Bombing will be held accountable.
In an interview with WBZ-TV, Vincent Lisi said his goals are to keep the FBI “aggressively pursuing the Marathon Bombing investigation, and identify anybody that was involved in the matter and make sure they can see their day in court.”
Lisi, 49, says he wishes he had been in Boston to help with the investigation. He arrived six weeks ago, and has spent much of that time visiting the FBI satellite offices in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and reaching out to meet law enforcement officials in the area. He says proudest moment of his career is getting this job as the Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Office. “This is the happiest I have been in my career,” he says.
Lisi grew up in a little town outside of Pittsburgh. “All of my relatives, uncles and cousins, worked in the steel mills. I did construction work every summer throughout, from the time I was 13 I started doing construction work, all the time until I graduated from college.”
Lisi said that work motivated him to study harder in college, and develop a strong work ethic he brings to the FBI.
Lisi comes to Boston with a wide range of experience in the FBI, including criminal work, domestic terrorism, intelligence, counter intelligence and an assignment in the Middle East. Whatever he is doing, he likes to be in the middle of the action.
Lisi started his work in the FBI’s criminal division. “I worked gangs and drugs in DC for nearly 14 years. It was back when DC was the murder capital of the country and there was nearly 500 murders a year. We worked on the gang task force back then, it was great.” The only time he spent in Boston prior to this move was two times buying heroin in Boston as an undercover agent.
His next assignment was working in FBI Headquarters in the Office of Congressional Affairs. He did that for two years, and then was assigned to the Anthrax Investigation.
Lisi explains, “The Anthrax attacks happened October 2001. It was October 2006 at this point. A lot of people worried the case had gone stale and the FBI wasn’t really committed to it. We absolutely were. We made tremendous progress once I got over there and we were actually able to identify the person responsible for the attacks and we were prepared to charge him and unfortunately he committed suicide.”
After that Lisi volunteered to go to Yemen as the FBI’s legal attache there. It was a one year assignment, but he stayed for an extra three months. “I said I don’t want to stay home and watch it on the news or read about it in the paper. I want to get over there an experience it. Because the activity had really started to pick up over there with Al Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula being right there in Yemen. I just wanted to go over there and be part of it.”
Lisi says he is glad to be arriving after the capture of Whitey Bulger. He is working to establish strong relationships, keenly aware off the skepticism following the years of corruption in the FBI Office. “We had a couple corrupt agents who gave us a black eye, deservedly so, but we have moved on and we will continue to move on. I know some people lost confidence in the FBI, hopefully not a lot but some, but it’s our job to regain their confidence. We’re going to work hard to make sure that people don’t look at us and have a feeling of mistrust.”
He is also working to strengthen partnership with the private sector, especially in the cyber arena. “Because they are the victims of these crimes. We need to make sure that we have an existing relationship with them. So I really want to do my best to get out there to our private partners and make sure we can establish and maintain an effective relationship with them.”